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Prince found ‘real happiness’ as Jehovah’s Witness, bassist says

  • INVISION VIA AP / NOV. 2015

    Prince presents the award for favorite album — soul/R&B at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Nov. 22.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This image made from a video, former Prince bassist Larry Graham talks about Prince in an Associated Press interview today. Graham, a famous bassist and longtime friend of pop megastar Prince says the artist found real happiness in his faith and could stay up all night talking about the Bible.

MINNETONKA, Minn. » Music megastar Prince was known for throwing parties that stretched into the wee hours of the morning, but his faith and the Bible could also keep him gabbing until sunrise, according to his longtime friend and “spiritual brother,” bassist Larry Graham.

Prince, who died last month at 57, became a Jehovah’s Witness later in life, and that helped shape his music as well as his lifestyle, according to Graham, who first met the star decades ago and became a confidante and tour mate.

Prince would knock on doors, talk with visitors at his studio-compound Paisley Park in suburban Minneapolis and even share his faith with small groups after a show, said Graham, the 69-year-old bassist best known for playing in the funk band Sly and the Family Stone and with his own group, Graham Central Station.

“That brought him joy. That brought him real happiness,” Graham said in an interview with The Associated Press today.

Graham said Prince was a private person who didn’t discuss his health issues openly. He said he saw Prince three days before he was found dead at Paisley Park and that, besides recovering from a cold, he seemed “pretty normal.”

Authorities are investigating whether Prince died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing drugs for the musician in the weeks before he died.

Graham said he had never seen Prince take any prescription drugs.

The two met while playing separate shows in Nashville, Tennessee, in the mid-1990s and Prince asked Graham, who was a Jehovah’s Witness, to come on tour with him. Graham said Prince was deeply interested in the Bible and they would talk about it for hours.

“He asked me questions every day, every week — sometimes we would bring up the sun talking about the Bible,” he said.

Later, Prince asked Graham if he would move to Minnesota to continue teaching him about God and his faith. He accepted, and Graham and his family relocated from Jamaica, where they had been teaching Bible school.

Prince’s interest in the Bible grew and eventually he came to the conclusion that he, too, wanted to become a Jehovah’s Witness, Graham said. Later, Prince began worshipping at a Kingdom Hall just outside Minneapolis. Graham said he considered Prince to be his “spiritual brother.”

It was important to Prince, like many artists, to give his fans joy with his music, Graham said. But the most important thing to him was not just giving people a “temporary feeling” from a record or album but being able to share scripture, he said.

“His joy — his biggest joy — was sharing the hope of everlasting life,” Graham said.

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    • Every religion has their own interpretation of the Bible. That’s how they control their flock. Some go from crazy, like the FLDS to the really crazy, like Westboro.

      • Every religion? If a Buddhist had a Bible, that would be news to him/her. A Muslim would likely abhor just the thought of that. Most likely you meant denominations but even denominations do not have their own exclusive translation of the Bible. As far as I know, only Jehovah Witnesses publish their own translation of the Bible which translate the Biblical text according to their own beliefs. This results in the Bible conforming to their doctrine instead of allowing the Bible to form their doctrine. One of the results is that Jesus is not divine according to the Jehovah Witnesses which is contrary to fundamental Christian doctrine.

        • I said Every religion has their own interpretation of the Bible. Whether they use it or believe in it is another story. I have family members that belong to Nichiren Shōshū and they also read the Bible and find no contradiction between their beliefs and whatever they cherry pick through in the Bible.

        • Yes in that sense I certainly agree with you in that people can “cherry pick” whatever Bible verses suit their whim.

        • You are so wrong. I am a witness. everything you say is false. Know the truth before you speak.

    • wrong. I invite you to any meeting at any Kingdom Hall in any part of this world. Bring your own bible and we will teach you the Truth.

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